Private hospitals fear proposed wage hike for HCWs means addt’l hospitalization costs

Marje Pelayo   •   August 25, 2021   •   260

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) will formally ask President Rodrigo Duterte to certify as urgent the proposed salary increase for healthcare workers in private health facilities.

But the Private Hospitals Association of the Philippines (PHAPI) said the proposal would only lead to increasing patients’ hospitalization bills as they have no other source of funds for the healthcare workers’ additional pay.

However, if the government will offer a subsidy, the group might accept it.

“Kapag natuloy iyon, ang impact ay sa mga pasyente. Tataas ang hospitalization cost. Walang pagkukunan ang private hospitals. Hindi katulad ng government na may subsidy,” said PHAPI president Dr. Jose Rene de Grano.

(If the wage hike pushes through, the patients will bear the impact. Hospitalization costs would increase. Private hospitals have no other sources of funds unlike government hospitals that have subsidy.)

According to the Philippine Nurses Association (PNA), nurses in the private sector have been transferring to public health facilities because of higher pay under salary grade 15.

“So nagkakaroon ng shortage yung private hospitals ngayon (Private hospitals are experiencing health workforce shortage) because of the imbalance of the salary,” said PNA president Melbert Reyes.

Moreover, the Filipino Nurses United (FNU) said that private nurses only receive about P8,000 to P10,000 as take home pay.

The group added that they have long been requesting for a salary increase given that the monthly pay of an entry level nurse in public hospitals has already increased to as much as P36,000.

“Iyong mga small hospitals sa tingin namin, baka pwedeng humingi tayo ng subsidy sa government kung hindi kakayanin ng mga small hospitals,” said FNU secretary general Jocelyn Andamo.

(The smaller hospitals could probably ask for government subsidy if they cannot afford [the pay hike].)

But Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III said he is confident that private hospitals will be able to provide should the proposal be approved.

He added that it will benefit around 2,000 private healthcare workers across the country.

“Lahat ng benefits ng mga healthcare worker in the public sector ay matatanggap din ng mga healthcare worker in the private sector,” Bello said.

(Healthcare workers in the private sector would also be entitled to all the benefits enjoyed by healthcare workers in the public sector.)  MNP (With reports from Rey Pelayo)

Paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits for private sector workers should be voluntary – Duterte adviser

Robie de Guzman   •   January 19, 2022

Presidential Adviser for Entrepreneurship Joey Concepcion has expressed support to the call of the Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on private sector employers to provide more paid leave benefits for their workers affected by COVID-19.

In a statement, Concepcion commended DOLE’s initiative, saying it “directly addresses some concerns of our workers, especially this pandemic.”

Conception was referring to Labor Advisory No. 1 issued by DOLE Secretary Silvestre Bello III, which calls on employers to allow their workers who are classified as close contact, suspect, probable, or confirmed case of COVID-19 to complete home isolation or facility-based quarantine.

The said paid isolation or quarantine leave for workers is separate from their regular leave benefits, according to Bello.

Concepcion, however, proposed that the private sector must shoulder only half of the paid isolation and quarantine leave program for the employees as many businesses are still struggling to recover from the effects of the pandemic.

“In times like this, we in business are not doing well. Some who are doing well will consider this but let’s be flexible those who cannot. But those who can even support with half, that would be a great help,” he said.

Nevertheless, Concepcion said the intention of DOLE’s order is “commendable” and should be supported by the business sector as this will provide workers with peace of mind while they undergo quarantine.

“The main concern of our workers is they won’t be paid their salary when they undergo quarantine. Bello’s order would allay that worry as they are now assured of their daily wage while in isolation,” Concepcion said.

It will also encourage workers to declare the true state of their health as they won’t have to worry about lost wages while in quarantine.

“Sad so say, some workers don’t divulge to their employers they experience COVID-related symptoms as they are more worried about losing part of their income. This order, if implemented by private sector employers, would also help quell the spread of COVID-19 among our workforce,” Concepcion said.

The official then appealed to the private sector to heed DOLE’s call for the sake of the workers, who are also risking their lives to keep the economy going amid the pandemic.

Bello earlier said that not all establishments are expected to follow the advisory as most of the firms, especially the micros and small enterprises, will not be able to afford the arrangement.

Mga manggagawa, hindi saklaw ng ‘no vax, no ride’ policy sa NCR – DOLE

Robie de Guzman   •   January 18, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – Hindi saklaw ng ipinaiiral na “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa National Capital Region (NCR) ang mga manggagawa kahit sila ay hindi bakunado kontra COVID-19.

Ang paglilinaw ay ginawa ng Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) kasunod ng mga batikos sa polisiyang ipinatutupad ng Department of Transportation (DOTr) at ulat na ilang manggagawa ang hindi pinasakay sa mga pampasaherong bus dahil hindi pa kumpleto ang bakuna.

Ayon kay Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, hindi dapat pigilan ang mga manggagawa na lumabas ng bahay at sumakay sa mga pampublikong sasakyan dahil sila ay maituturing na essential workers na nagbibigay ng mahahalagang serbisyo sa publiko.

“‘Pag hininto mo mga iyan, papaano gagalaw ang ating mga negosyo? ‘Pag walang negosyo, walang ekonomiya. So, luckily exempted po ang ating mga workers,” ang paliwanag ni Bello.

Kailangan lamang ay magpakita ng company identification card ang mga empleyado upang sila ay payagang makabiyahe kahit hindi pa fully vaccinated.

Bunsod nito, nais paigtingin ng DOLE ang information dribe sa naturang exemption upang lubos itong maintidihan ng publiko.

“Kailangan lang siguro more massive information drive to inform especially not only the public but especially the enforcing enforcement agencies – mga pulis, mga taga-DOTr, alam nila dapat ang mga workers are exempted from this no vax no ride policy,” ang wika ni Bello.

Sa panig naman ng DOTr, sinabi ng ahensiya na hindi absolute ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy dahil may exemption naman ang pagpapatupad nito.

Una nang sinabi ng DOTr na hindi saklaw ng panuntunan ang mga indibidwal na hindi nababakunahan dahil sa medikal na kondisyon at ang mga lumalabas ng bahay para sa essential goods and services.

Ngunit paalala ng kagawaran, dapat may maipakitang kaukulang dokumento gaya ng medical certificate o iba pang katunayan ang isang indibiduwal upang ma-exempt sila sa nasabing polisiya.

Kung may medical check-up o examination, magtatrabaho, bibili ng essential goods, mag-a-apply ng lisensya, passport at iba pa, kailangan lang din na magpakita ng mga pruweba ng pagpunta sa mga kaukulang lugar gaya ng identification card sa mga empleyado, medical o exam appointment, barangay health pass at iba pa.

Kung fully vaccinated na, dapat ay dala ang vaccination card.

Ikinokonsiderang fully vaccinated ang isang indibidwal dalawang linggo matapos matanggap ang second dose ng bakuna.

Iiral ang “no vaccination, no ride” policy sa mga pampublikong sasakyan sa Metro Manila hangga’t nakataas ang COVID-19 Alert Level 3 o higit pa. (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Asher Cadapan Jr.)

Labor dept asks employers to provide workers with paid isolation, quarantine leave benefits

Robie de Guzman   •   January 17, 2022

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) on Monday urged employers in the private sector to provide paid leave benefits to workers who have to undergo isolation or quarantine period due to COVID-19.

In a labor advisory, DOLE said this is to “ensure safe and humane working conditions” amid the rising cases of coronavirus in the country.

The labor department said employers in the private sector are encouraged to adopt and implement appropriate paid isolation and quarantine leave program, on top of the existing leave benefits under the company policy. Leave benefits under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the Labor Code of the Philippines, and special laws should be separately applied.

“The paid isolation and quarantine leaves shall be without prejudice to other benefits provided by the Social Security System and the Employees Compensation Commission,” it added.

DOLE said its advisory applies to all establishments, employers, and their employees in the private sector.

Under the updated guidelines from the Department of Health, fully vaccinated COVID-19 patients who are asymptomatic or with mild symptoms need to isolate for seven days while those who are unvaccinated or partially vaccinated need to complete the isolation period for 10 days.

The isolation period for moderate cases is 10 days while those with severe and critical symptoms, and immunocompromised would have to isolate for 21 days.

The quarantine period for fully vaccinated asymptomatic close contacts has been shortened to five days.

Isolation is for individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 while quarantine is for those who have been exposed and can possibly develop an infection.


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